Section 8 statistics for sunken or abandoned boats

Nigel Moore made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by British Waterways Board.

Dear British Waterways Board,

Of all Section 8 Notices served on boats since the British Waterways Act 1983, how many were served on the grounds that the boats were sunk, stranded or abandoned [i.e. excluding those which were served because the boats were unlicensed &/or unlawfully moored].

Of those, how many were served in the past 10 years, and how many in the last 5?

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Moore

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your request for information of 20 June 2011.

We will now review the information that we hold relating to your request and a response will be sent as soon as possible but in any case within 20 working days of the receipt of your request on 16th June 2011.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Sarina Young,

Dear Mr Moore,

Further to my acknowledgement of 21st June and your request for information of 20th June I can confirm that British Waterways does not hold the information you have requested.

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear Sarina Young,

Please confirm explicitly the substance of your response. On the face of it, the conclusion would follow that BW maintains no records regarding the issue of Section 8’s; alternatively, that it has maintained no records of the stated reasons for issuing such notices. Either situation seems scarcely credible.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Moore

Sarina Young,

Thank you for your e-mail.
I am currently on holiday and will return to work on Tuesday 5th June
2011.
Kind regards,
Sarina Young

Information Request,

Dear Mr Moore,

Thank you for your e-mail of 25th June.

We were unable to satisfy your original response because we do not hold records of the information that you have requested dating back to the 1983 Act or even for the last five and ten years. We also do not hold a record of the reason(s) for serving the Section 8 notice and are therefore unable to breakdown the number served on sunk, stranded, abandoned or unlawfully moored boats for you.

However, we do hold the following information relating to served Section 8 Notices dating back to 1st November 2009:

37 - Section 8 and Section 13 Notices were served once we had revoked customers' licences;
225 - Section 8 and Section 13 Notices were served where we believed or they were known to be a 'liveaboard'; and
669 - Section 8 Notices were served on unlicensed boats, non 'liveaboard'.
Grand Total 931

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours Sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Nigel Moore left an annotation ()

This answer amounts to a self-contradictory refusal to give the information requested. I can accept [up to a point] the fact that records older than 5 years might be destroyed as no longer needed [although I don’t believe they have been] – but why give statistics dating back only as far as 2009 when earlier Section 8 notices are certainly still “live”, as legal proceedings relating to them are in progress? By law, as these are legal notices, full records must be kept – not only of the notices themselves, but vitally, of the reasons for issue - else the charges could not be upheld at court. Those records must necessarily be kept for at least as long as legal proceedings are extant.

Additionally, if they are able to give statistics for the period since 2009 as to whether the notices related to boats being licensed [and, in further detail, which of those were live-aboards or not], then it is obvious that they DO have records relating to the reasons for issue.

Besides which rather obvious deduction, it IS in fact provably untrue to say “we also do not hold a record of the reason(s) for serving the Section 8 notice . . .” Every time a notice is issued, the Patrol Officer forwards to the legal department a corresponding form noting the status of the boat. I have copies of recent examples of these, identifying the boats as being [in all cases] both ‘unlicensed and moored without authority’.

If anyone wishes to see these and pursue the matter further, they can get in touch by clicking on my name on any posting on the www.brentfordTW8.com website Forum - I do not have the patience to continue wheedling the relevant statistics from them.

It would, for example, have been helpful if BW had at least noted just how many Section 8’s in the period since 2009 had been issued overall, so that the numbers given as served on unlicensed boats could be deducted from that total number and a useful statistic as to ratios engendered.

My initial interest was to see how many [if any] notices were ever served commensurate with the original envisaged purpose of them. Using Section 8 powers for unlicensed boats is a relatively late inspiration whereas using them in the context of mooring ‘infringements’ had historically been rejected by BW as being a ‘Draconian’ and 'inappropriate use' of such powers.

For my immediate purposes, the fact that the only extant recorded reason for issuing Section 8’s [on their evidence], is that boats are unlicensed, suffices.